Except for the mayor and possibly the budget chief, no city council committee post has as much profile as that of the TTC chair.
Voters who don’t know their own ward councillors would probably recognize the two most recent TTC chairs, Adam Giambrone and Howard Moscoe. With the city’s transit priorities a key plank in mayor-elect Rob Ford’s platform, the coveted post has the potential to make one councillor a household name.
Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence)
Stintz opposed the TTC’s agreement with Build Toronto for a new transit headquarters in her ward at York Mills and Yonge Street.
If she were on the TTC, Stintz said cleaning up the system would be her top priority, as well as implementing the regional Presto fare card. She also supports working closely with Metrolinx on whatever form Toronto transit expansion takes.
Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
A member of the outgoing TTC, Milczyn’s experience there is preceded by three years on the budget committee. Although he’s known as right-winger, he has been a fairly non-partisan, common sense voice on the TTC.
“I have a lot of ideas about what the future of the TTC could be in terms of Metrolinx, in terms of the smart card, in terms of even beyond Metrolinx, into regional transit issues,” he said.
The dark horses:
Josh Colle (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence)
Sitting in former TTC chair Howard Moscoe’s old ward, Colle is the son of Liberal MPP Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence), a former TTC chair himself.
He doesn’t believe in the subway-versus-light rail debate. The Eglinton Transit City line will operate underground like a subway, he said. He also thinks the transit chair is sufficiently important to warrant a public election.
Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre)
This former transit commissioner is a less obvious, but somewhat logical choice. He represents the suburbs but far from Ford’s base in Etobicoke, something it’s been suggested the new mayor needs.
Thompson favoured a subway in Scarborough, but has resisted what he calls “the parochial approach” and subsequently supported light rail.
David Shiner (Ward 24, Willowdale)
The former budget committee chair, who sat on the TTC about six years ago, thinks the system has some big challenges ahead, including upcoming contract talks. Shiner would like to see more parking at stations and free parking restored for Metropass users.